Posts Tagged ‘Harold Ford Jr.’

Sunday talk show highlights, April 11, 2010

April 12, 2010

This Monday, Meet The Press and This Week. In short: The White House’s defend-President-Obama’s-Nuclear-posture-review-effort was headed by Secretaries Clinton and Gates, and the roundtables’ focused on the upcoming replacement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

On Meet The Press, host David Gregory played a videotape of President Obama talking about the desired qualities of his future Supreme Court nominee:

It will … be someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.

My first reaction was that Obama was talking about a nominee who would oppose the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens’ United case since President Obama framed his opposition to that ruling in strikingly similar terms.

Now, who will Obama pick?

The shortlist includes about ten names, including the following: Judge Diane Wood (7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals), Elena Kagan (the solicitor general of the United States), Judge Merrick Garland (judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit) and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

My view? Take it away Tony Blankley (the conservative voice on KCRW’s “Left, Right & Center”): “I’m not sufficiently familiar to really discuss that intelligently.”

On the issue of Hamid Karzai’s latest statements, Gregory posed the following question to syndicated Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker:

Kathleen, you write in a column this morning about this complicated relationship with allies like Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan. And, again, you saw that exchange. What was noteworthy is a shift in the administration. Here you had the secretary of Defense and the secretary of State saying, “We’re not going to react to some of these things. We’re going to be more sympathetic toward Hamid Karzai. He’s the guy that we have to deal with.” That was, that was a significant change.

Parker answered:

Yeah, that was a shift as of right this minute, right? We’ve been pretty hard on him, and he is the guy that was elected and he is our man. We, we created Karzai. And he’s been under siege from everyone. I mean, Obama pretty much came out swinging during his campaign, and he’s had, you know, every European parliamentarian coming after him. Everybody is on Karzai’s back. And, and naturally, he’s going to react. This is the testosterone axis of the world, and you don’t insult a leader in public and then expect him to just sit back and take it.

David Gregory then turned the roundtable’s focus to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference held in New Orleans last week:

MR. GREGORY: Well, let me go a little bit larger here and talk about presidential leadership and put it in the political context, because there is an opposition party, the Republicans, and they’re trying to figure out how to mount that opposition, as we are in an election year. And there was a gathering of Republicans that got a lot of attention, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. And you heard two prominent Republican voices, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, talking about how, again, Republicans position themselves to counter President Obama (videotape):

MR. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): What the left wants to do is say we’re the party of “no.” …  And so here’s what I want to ask you to encourage every candidate you know, every incumbent you know, every staff person you know, every consultant you know, I think we should decide that we’re going to be the party of “yes.”

MRS. SARAH PALIN: There is no shame in being the party of no if they’re proposing, the other side, proposing an idea that violates our values, violates our conscience, violates our Constitution. What’s wrong with being the party of no.  …  Or better said by the good governor of this state, he said, “The party of `no’? Nah, we’re the party of `Hell, no!'”

Gregory then asked The New York Times’ David Brooks to assess the GOP right now in terms “of mounting this challenge, figuring out where it’s going to be in 2010 and 2012”:

MR. BROOKS: You’re turning to the party of “maybe” over here. So this is a bad move for you. Listen, Palin is great TV. She’s really attractive. Gingrich is sort of great TV. He’s got a billion ideas, 600 of which are really good. But the fact is the, the Republican Party is not Palin and it’s not Gingrich. The Republican Party is Rob Portman, who’s running for senator in Ohio. It’s Mark Kirk, who’s running for, for senator in Illinois. It’s Governor Christie in New Jersey. These are the people who are actually governing. And I happen to feel we pay a little too much attention to people like Palin, who’s sort of a sub reality figure on some TV show. But these are the people that are actually running, and they’ve actually got it figured out.They’re against a lot of what Obama’s doing, but they’re the party of “yes.” They’ve got a whole series of policies.  Paul Ryan from Wisconsin has–can wonk your ear off. And so that’s the real party. Palin, the tea parties–listen, the tea party movement is a movement without a structure, without an organization. No, no party, no movement like that lasts.

On This Week, the Roundtable focused on Justice John Paul Stevens’ retirement, and George Will’s opening remarks emphasized the fact that the confirmations of Supreme Court nominees were much smoother and went much faster back in the good old days. Furthermore, and as host Jake Tapper pointed out, the confirmation of Justice Stevens was the last one that wasn’t televised.

Perhaps it was easier to be bipartisan when the voters weren’t watching?

In the end, who had the most memorable phrase this Sunday? Tip of the hat to David Brooks for his description of Sarah Palin:

I happen to feel we pay a little too much attention to people like Palin, who’s sort of a sub reality figure on some TV show.

If it’s Monday, it’s Sunday talk show highlight time.

Postscript: Cokie Roberts mentioned the cartoon we picked as “Political Cartoon of the Week, April 4-10” when she described the upcoming debate on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Sunday talk show highlights, March 7, 2010

March 8, 2010

This Monday, once again, Meet The Press and This Week.

Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the headliner on both shows, and once again, when the White House wants a certain message out there, one of their representatives headline Meet The Press and This Week. The only difference in the two interviews of Sebelius was the angle from which she was filmed. Right to left on Meet The Press, and left to right on This Week.

On Meet The Press, host David Gregory once again tried to cut through the partisan pre-packaging by posing the following question to Senator Orrin Hatch (UT-R):

OK, Senator Hatch, you just heard Secretary Sebelius. So what’s going to happen here? Don’t just be partisan, be analytical. Is this victory, defeat on health care or something in between?

It didn’t really work, as the first line of Hatch’s answer was the following:

Well, it may be, it may be any one of those three, and it depends on whether they continue to abuse the rules.

The most memorable back-and-forth took place between Senator Hatch and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. (pictured above).

SEN. HATCH: In every case except two they were–they, they had bipartisan votes. In two of them–in 1993, Clinton’s bill, yeah, they got a reconciliation bill on a purely partisan vote that Congress changed to Republicans. The Republicans did the same thing in I think it was 2005, got a bill through just on a totally partisan vote, and it changed to Democrats. The fact of the matter is you can’t…

MR. DIONNE: Are you talking about bipartisanship or you talking about reconciliation?

SEN. HATCH: You can’t–no, wait, wait, wait.  You can’t…

MR. DIONNE: These were reconciliation bills…

SEN. HATCH: That was reconciliation.

MR. DIONNE: …that picked up one or two Democrats.

SEN. HATCH: You cannot ignore the fact that we’re talking about the first time in history, sweeping social legislation will be passed, if they get their way, by a totally partisan vote.  One-sixth of the American economy.  If we do that, Katy bar the door, I got to tell you.

MR. DIONNE: If the Republican Party were not sitting there being obstructionist–what Senator Hatch is saying is, if Republicans unite and say, “We won’t vote for this,” and you need bipartisanship, he’s saying Democrats can’t govern.  And if $1.7 trillion…

SEN. HATCH: Well, they can’t.

MR. DIONNE: …in tax cuts isn’t significant, I don’t know what is.

MR. GREGORY: All right, let, let me…

SEN. HATCH: One very…

MR. GREGORY: Hold on, hold on.

In short: catnip for political junkies like myself.

Former Tennessee Representative Harold Ford Jr. (D), who recently announced that he’s not challenging Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary for the New York Senate spot, also appeared on the show. Gregory asked him the following question:

Harold, final, final point on this piece of it, which is doesn’t the president have a bigger problem if he doesn’t get the reform he’s after than on taking a hit politically for the process?

The second line of Ford’s response turned out to be the phrase of the show:

You’re right, results are more important than process. The only ideology a majority of Americans are concerned about right now is the result. Two, reconciliation is a rule that can be used and invoked in the Senate. If Democrats have the votes, they should move forward with it. What Senator Hatch is saying is very simple, that if you do that you run the risk of political backlash. When Democrats did it in ’93–it actually was the right thing when Clinton passed that ’93 budget, because it helped us grow. Republicans did it in 2005, and there are other examples. There might be a political switch. But what I hear E.J. saying is that that’s a risk that they’re going to have to take.

Later in the show, Senator Hatch said the following about Ford:

You know, I, I think if more Democrats were like Harold Ford, we wouldn’t have half the problems that we have today.

When Dionne got the word, he commented on Hatch’s endorsement by saying:

First of all, I think when Harold Ford goes back to Tennessee and runs for the Senate, he’s going to use that endorsement from Senator Hatch.

Ford felt the need to clarify, and stated that:

E.J., I’ll, I’ll–when I run again, it’ll be from New York, which is where I live.

On This Week, yet another guest host tried out George Stephanopoulos’ old seat. Matthew Dowd did an OK job, but he’s not my favorite among the ones who’ve given it a try (in addition to Matthew Dowd; Jake Tapper, Terry Moran, Barbara Walters, Jonathan Karl and Elizabeth Vargas). I must say I prefer the way Meet The Press handled the replacement of the late Tim Russert. Basically, Tom Brokaw hosted the show in the interim, and when the new host was announced, it was permanent.

In an interview following Dowd’s interview with Sebelius, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KT-R) revealed that he hears what he wants to hear from the American people:

The American people have been deeply involved in this debate. What did they see? They see a bill that cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars, that raises taxes about half a trillion dollars, and that almost certainly will raise the cost of insurance for those on the individual market. They also see the way it was passe, the cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, the gator-aid behind closed doors. They look at this whole package, both in terms of the policy and the process, and they say they don’t want it.

This Sunday’s biggest mischaracterization? George Will claiming that Robert Reich views the American people as “dopes.”

As far as laughable moments go, the Roundtable erupted during a video of Senator Blanche Lincoln’s (AR-D) latest commercial. In the spot, the slogan “One Tough Lady” is shown on the screen while Senator Lincoln sits on the floor among kids tossing money around – while a voice-over touts her “no” votes in the Senate. If nothing else, I’ve finally seen the much talked about money that Republicans are talking about when they say the Democrats are “borrowing/stealing money from our grandchildren.”

In the end, who had the most memorable phrase this Sunday?

I’ve already mentioned Ford’s “ideology of results,”  but there were a couple of memorable ones on This Week as well:

Donna Brazile:

Corruption is a bipartisan problem.

George Will:

Cognitive dissonance on a grand scale.

The winner: Harold Ford Jr. and his “ideology of results”:

The only ideology a majority of Americans are concerned about right now is the result.

If it’s Monday, it’s Sunday talk show highlight time.


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